Science Questions

What diet & nutritional factors are important for bone strength?

Sun, 27th Feb 2011

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Sally Everson, Ely asked:

What diet & nutritional factors are important for bone strength?


We put this to Dr Ken Poole and Professor Tim Skerry...

Ken -   Diet and nutrition is very important, and the one that people think about most is vitamin D. Calcium is also very important.  We have not enough vitamin D from sunlight at these sorts of northern latitudes, so those are important.  In order to work out how important, you can look at the body mass index and a low body mass index is a risk factor for fracture.  That's one of the things that we plug-in to the World Health Organisation Frax tool which is a thing that predicts what your own fracture risk is.  You can run this on an Apple, on an iPhone, or even just on the web from the Frax website and that will tell you what your own risk is over the next 10 years.  So yeah, nutrients and diet are very important.

Chris -   Sounds good.  Anything to add to that, Tim?

Tim - I don't think so.  I think generally, western diets have reasonably good levels of calcium, but yes, as Ken says, vitamin D could be something that people need to worry about.


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I think they left out adequate amounts of protein, which most people get but an anorexic girl eating nothing but lettuce, or an elderly person with no teeth, might not. Bones are like reinforced concrete. The calcium makes them hard, but protein makes them strong. Without protein, they would be brittle like a china cup. cheryl j, Sat, 3rd Dec 2011

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